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An American Crime (2007)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 20,925 users  
Reviews: 110 user | 51 critic

The true story of suburban housewife Gertrude Baniszewski, who kept a teenage girl locked in the basement of her Indiana home during the 1960s.

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Title: An American Crime (2007)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Shirley Baniszewski (as Hannah Leigh Dworkin)
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Reverend Bill Collier
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Marie Baniszewski
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Hope Orbach
Patricia Place ...
Mrs. Doyle
Calvin Keet ...
Mr. Doyle
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Storyline

Based on a true story that shocked the nation in 1965, the film recounts one of the most shocking crimes ever committed against a single victim. Sylvia and Jennie Fae Likens, the two daughters of traveling carnival workers are left for an extended stay at the Indianapolis home of single mother Gertrude Baniszewski and her six children. Times are tough, and Gertrude's financial needs cause her to make this arrangement before realizing how the burden will push her unstable nature to a breaking point. What transpires in the next three months is both riveting and horrific, leaving one child dead and the rest scarred for life. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This has been the most terrible crime ever committed in the state of Indiana See more »

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong and disturbing depiction of child abuse and torture | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 December 2007 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

The Basement  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was shot in chronological order to give the actors the experience of what Sylvia really went through. See more »

Goofs

In a scene set in 1965, a character rushes into a phone booth and dials for an operator without inserting a coin. The free operator call feature was not instituted until many years later. See more »

Quotes

Sylvia Likens: She sacrificed me to protect her children, and she sacrificed her children to protect herself.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The final credit states "Sylvia Likens, 1949-1965". See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Downtown
Written by Tony Hatch
Performed by Petula Clark
Courtesy of Disques Vogue and Sony BMG Music Entertainment (France)
By Arrangement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
An American Crime vs. Girl Next Door
30 May 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

First of all someone said " The Girl Next Door" wasn't based on actual events .You'd have to be oblivious not to see it's based on this case with some minor changes.

I feel that The Girl Next Door is a much more disturbing film then An American Crime because the degree of abuse is much more accurate in relation to what happened in real life.

Also I was somewhat disturbed that the the director tried to show Gertrude in a somewhat sympathetic light as if he was trying to make some sort of feminist statement that Gertrude was a victim of 50's male oppression.In reality she was a sexual sadist of unspeakable proportions.


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The most evil of them all fleurus-d-864-162834
The Baniszewski kids should be haunted by Sylvia's face forever davidjrichardson73
Paula Baniszewski in Iowa metalkyle-595-718974
The Dream Sequence tromphisromphis
Why such a low score on Rotten Tomatoes? ebrady98
Compared to The Girl Nextdoor chelsi-boswell
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